Within six hours of taking my first super-antibiotic, my throat stopped hurting and the white patches disappeared. The next day my energy came back. I guess I’ve dodged the relentless chemo-fatigue for yet another treatment.

I’m not dodging all the side effects, though. My brain is still foggy and while my energy came back, it didn’t come back 100 percent. My feet are a bit numb and tingly — it gets worse when they’re cold or if I’ve been walking or standing for a long time. With the first two treatments, the numbness passed after a couple of days. This time, no. It’s one of the main side effects of Taxol, a.k.a. one-half of the chemo regimen. Bit of trivia — taxol was originally isolated in (and sourced from) the bark of the Pacific yew. I remember a nurse telling me this the very first time I had chemo. You see, she said, it’s from the west coast, just like you. Yes, indeed. Except that I’m not really from the coast, I’m from the interior.

The only other side effect — this one a side effect of the whole cancer thing, not just the chemo — is the odd moment of feeling sorry for myself. It comes and goes. I’ll be fine for weeks and weeks, and then I’m not. I get sulky and weepy. I’m in a bit of one of those states right now, where in the words of Bill Cameron, my “self-pity index rises,” so I’ve been keeping a low profile because I’m feeling a bit like the human embodiment of sad trombone. (Bill Cameron also called cancer a “colossally enervating and humiliating drag,” which is possibly the most apt description of the disease I’ve ever come across.)

I hate feeling sorry for myself. It’s unproductive.

I don’t know why my self-pity index is rising. I’ve stopped trying to figure out these shifts in mood; stopped trying to fight against them. Mostly I just try to trust that they’ll pass, that this will all pass. I think I’m just psychically tired — I can almost see the finish line now, but somehow that makes it seem even farther away. It’s not, though.

Fifty-two days left.


About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
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2 Responses to

  1. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling sorry for yourself. It’s not unproductive. It’s your body’s way of expelling stress and negativity.

  2. Kayko says:

    Thanks. Both my parents just relapsed into non-hodgkins lymphoma and colon cancer. It’s a nightmare, but I appreciate your blog. A friend of mine has a cancer blog as well, barefootandlaughing.blogspot.com so I thought I’d just pass it on. Also, don’t forget that the chemo does a number on your neurological chemical make-up, so the feeling down/depressed could be a result of that.

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